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Genesis 41

41
Pharaoh Has Two Dreams
1When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the Nile River. 2Seven cows came up out of the river. They looked healthy and fat. They were eating some of the tall grass growing along the river. 3After them, seven other cows came up out of the Nile. They looked ugly and skinny. They were standing beside the other cows on the riverbank. 4The ugly, skinny cows ate up the seven cows that looked healthy and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5He fell asleep again and had a second dream. In that dream, seven heads of grain were growing on one stem. They were healthy and good. 6After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and dried up by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It had been a dream.
8In the morning he was worried. So he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams. But no one could tell him what they meant.
9Then the chief wine taster spoke up. He said to Pharaoh, “Now I remember that I’ve done something wrong. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants. He put me and the chief baker in prison. We were in the house of the captain of the palace guard. 11Each of us had a dream the same night. Each dream had its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew servant was there with us. He was a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams. And he explained them to us. He told each of us the meaning of our dreams. 13Things turned out exactly as he said they would. I was given back my job. The other man had a pole stuck through his body.”
14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. He was quickly brought out of the prison. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes. Then he came to Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream. No one can tell me what it means. But I’ve heard that when you hear a dream you can explain it.”
16“I can’t do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh. “But God will give Pharaoh the answer he wants.”
17Then Pharaoh told Joseph what he had dreamed. He said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18Seven cows came up out of the river. They were fat and looked healthy. They were eating the tall grass growing along the river. 19After them, seven other cows came up. They were bony and very ugly and thin. I had never seen such ugly cows in the whole land of Egypt. 20The thin, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21But no one could tell that the thin cows had eaten the fat cows. That’s because the thin cows looked just as ugly as they had before. Then I woke up.
22“In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain. They were full and good. They were all growing on one stem. 23After them, seven other heads of grain came up. They were weak and thin and dried up by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told my dream to the magicians. But none of them could explain it to me.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams have the same meaning. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years. And the seven good heads of grain are seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27The seven thin, ugly cows that came up later are seven years. So are the seven worthless heads of grain dried up by the east wind. They are seven years when there won’t be enough food.
28“It’s just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he’s about to do. 29Seven years with plenty of food are coming to the whole land of Egypt. 30But seven years when there won’t be enough food will follow them. Then everyone will forget about all the food Egypt had. Terrible hunger will destroy the land. 31There won’t be anything left to remind people of the years when there was plenty of food in the land. That’s how bad the hunger that follows will be. 32God gave the dream to Pharaoh in two forms. That’s because the matter has been firmly decided by God. And it’s because God will do it soon.
33“So Pharaoh should look for a wise and understanding man. He should put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Pharaoh should appoint officials to be in charge of the land. They should take a fifth of the harvest in Egypt during the seven years when there’s plenty of food. 35They should collect all the extra food of the good years that are coming. Pharaoh should give them authority to store up the grain. They should keep it in the cities for food. 36The grain should be stored up for the country to use later. It will be needed during the seven years when there isn’t enough food in Egypt. Then the country won’t be destroyed just because it doesn’t have enough food.”
37The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and all his officials. 38So Pharaoh said to them, “The spirit of God is in this man. We can’t find anyone else like him, can we?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “God has made all this known to you. No one is as wise and understanding as you are. 40You will be in charge of my palace. All my people must obey your orders. I will be greater than you only because I’m the one who sits on the throne.”
Joseph Is Put in Charge of Egypt
41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I’m putting you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took from his finger the ring he used to give his official stamp. He put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes made out of fine linen. He put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck. 43He also had him ride in a chariot. Joseph was now next in command after Pharaoh. People went in front of Joseph and shouted, “Get down on your knees!” By doing all these things, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh. But unless you give an order, no one will do anything in the whole land of Egypt.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He gave Joseph a wife. She was Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On. Joseph traveled all over the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He left Pharaoh’s palace and traveled all over Egypt. 47During the seven years there was plenty of food. The land produced more than the people needed. 48Joseph collected all the extra food produced in those seven years in Egypt. He stored it in the cities. In each city he stored up the food grown in the fields around it. 49Joseph stored up huge amounts of grain. There was as much of it as sand by the sea. There was so much grain it couldn’t be measured. So Joseph stopped keeping records of it.
50Before the years when there wasn’t enough food, two sons were born to Joseph. He had them by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On. 51Joseph named his first son Manasseh. That’s because he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and my father’s whole family.” 52He named the second son Ephraim. That’s because he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve suffered so much.”
53The seven years when there was plenty of food in Egypt came to an end. 54Then the seven years when there wasn’t enough food began. It happened just as Joseph had said it would. There wasn’t enough food in any of the other lands. But in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55When all the people of Egypt began to get hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. He told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he tells you.”
56There wasn’t enough food anywhere in the country. So Joseph opened the storerooms. He sold grain to the Egyptians because people were very hungry all over Egypt. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt. They came to buy grain from Joseph. That’s because people were very hungry everywhere.

Genesis 41

41
The Dreams of Pharaoh
1After two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, 2when seven cows, sleek and well-fed, came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside the well-fed cows on the bank of the river. 4And the cows that were sickly and thin devoured the seven sleek, well-fed cows.
Then Pharaoh woke up, 5but he fell back asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the east wind. 7And the thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh awoke and realized it was a dream.
8In the morning his spirit was troubled, so he summoned all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I recall my failures. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11One night both the chief baker and I had dreams, and each dream had its own meaning. 12Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams and he interpreted them for us individually. 13And it happened to us just as he had interpreted: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.”
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of the dungeon. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he went in before Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16“I myself cannot do it,” Joseph replied, “but God will give Pharaoh a sound answer.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven cows, well-fed and sleek, came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows—sickly, ugly, and thin—came up. I have never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt! 20Then the thin, ugly cows devoured the seven well-fed cows that were there first. 21When they had devoured them, however, no one could tell that they had done so; their appearance was as ugly as it had been before. Then I awoke.
22In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind. 24And the thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones.
I told this dream to the magicians, but no one could explain it to me.”
25At this, Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads of grain are seven years. The dreams have the same meaning. 27Moreover, the seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind—they are seven years of famine.
28It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will devastate the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, since the famine that follows it will be so severe.
32Moreover, because the dream was given to Pharaoh in two versions, the matter has been decreed by God, and He will carry it out shortly.
33Now, therefore, Pharaoh should look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh take action and appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest #41:34 See LXX; MT a fifth from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35Under the authority of Pharaoh, let them collect all the excess food from these good years, that they may come and lay up the grain to be preserved as food in the cities. 36This food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine to come upon the land of Egypt. Then the country will not perish in the famine.”
Joseph Given Charge of Egypt
37This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, in whom the Spirit of God #41:38 Or the spirit of the gods abides?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people are to obey your commands. Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41Pharaoh also told Joseph, “I hereby place you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed the signet ring from his finger, put it on Joseph’s finger, clothed him in garments of fine linen, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, with men calling out before him, “Bow the knee!”#41:43 That is, “Abrek,” probably an Egyptian word that sounds similar to the Hebrew for kneel So he placed him over all the land of Egypt.
44And Pharaoh declared to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your permission, no one in all the land of Egypt shall lift his hand or foot.”
45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah,#41:45 Zaphenath-paneah probably means Revealer of Mysteries or God speaks and lives. and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,#41:45 That is, Heliopolis, as in LXX; also in verse 50 to be his wife. And Joseph took charge of all the land of Egypt.
The Seven Years of Plenty
46Now Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance, the land brought forth bountifully. 48During those seven years, Joseph collected all the excess food in the land of Egypt and stored it in the cities. In every city he laid up the food from the fields around it. 49So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance, like the sand of the sea, that he stopped keeping track of it; for it was beyond measure.
50Before the years of famine arrived, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh,#41:51 Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for making to forget. saying, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s household.” 52And the second son he named Ephraim,#41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for making fruitful or twice fruitful. saying, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
The Famine Begins
53When the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. And although there was famine in every country, there was food throughout the land of Egypt. 55When extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56When the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians; for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57And every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.